The Long Ride
Taking a Long Trip on Your Motorcycle
There’s something about riding a motorcycle on a long trip with the wind in your face, the sun on the skin and the open road ahead of you.
Destination, Road Trip
A motorcycle trip doesn’t feel like a road trip in a car. The ride is the fun part and the destination is just a reason to take the ride. Riding with a group of friends or other riders can add to your riding experience.
There are many great roads that are popular for motorcycles due to the twists turns, elevations and scenery. What do you need to do to get ready for a long motorcycle trip?
Make sure you properly prepare yourself and your ride before hitting the road for a long ride. During a long trip on a motorcycle you may encounter obstacles like weather or breakdown. Preparing for the worst circumstances will leave you ready for everything.
- Wear all of the appropriate protective riding gear like a helmet, gloves, eyewear, footwear, pants, jacket, etc.
- Rain and wind protection are a must when traveling far distances. Weather can change from minute to minute and the weatherman isn’t always reliable.
- An emergency plan should always be constructed with emergency contacts to be reached in the event of an accident.
- Planning the route out can be helpful for some (supplies and lodging), although some like the spontaneous trip.
- Carry water and extra clothing
- Make sure you have all of your documents. A motorcycle license or endorsement, registration and insurance is a must. If traveling outside the US, you may need additional documents like your passport or special ID cards.
- Remember to charge your mobile phone to ensure you reach out if you need help out on the road.
Go through the pre-ride safety inspection of your bike to make sure all the components and equipment are operating as normal and consider the following:
- Carry a small amount of tools in the event of a breakdown.
- Equip yourself with jumper cables or a small jumper pack is useful if the battery dies.
- Pack the motorcycle using saddlebags/storage trunks, luggage racks and tank packs. Be sure to distribute the weight evenly so that it doesn’t affect the handling of the motorcycle. Ratchet straps or bungee cords are also extremely useful at times.
- For a motorcycle not equipped with GPS, a phone holder can be attached to the handle bars.
- If you are traveling with a passenger or other riders, an intercom system works great for talking with your passenger and or others in your group.
This is the fun part! Stay vigilant and cautious of the other cars or motorcycles around you. Always leave space to give time for avoiding hazards. If you’re riding in groups, stick together. Try to ride in line or next to each other. Learn hand signals to communicate with each other. Take breaks often. Rider fatigue can lead to bad consequences. A rest stop or scenic overlook is a great place to rest a bit and catch up with other riders if you are with a group. Don’t forget to hydrate if conditions are very hot. If the weather becomes too poor while riding, pull over under an overpass or into a rest stop and allow the storm to pass (hopefully it’s short lived). A windshield is great to reduce wind fatigue. If there is any type of mechanical issue, pull over immediately as long as it is safe to do so. Most mechanical issues don’t sort themselves out by themselves. If you are riding with a passenger, make sure they are comfortable and if they are not, take a break. For international crossings, make sure you have the proper paperwork to cross borders. Always obey the local laws regarding the road.
Prepare your trip, get your bike ready, pack your gear and ride safely!